May 25, 2016

15 ways to get your desired business name approved for registration

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If you plan to use a general word when coining your business name, please don't forget the fact that as humans we sometimes think alike and someone else might have used the name. However there are many tricks to get the name you desire to be available to you even if it is a commonly used word. A client once told me he saw his desired name in a dream, but when we searched, the name was denied, apparently, someone else saw it in a dream before him.

The problem of name denial is real and research shows that many entrepreneurs get frustrated when their desired names are not available for registration. Some have been discouraged to proceed with registration while others cast suspicious looks at the Incorporation agent.  But according to Akin Mate, a Lagos based corporate lawyer, there may be a way out. The easiest way to get the name you desire is to be unique and creative, Akin Mate Said. Unique names will always beat the system.

How To Get Your Desired Name:

Be Creative
A business name can be very creative notwithstanding the business you are doing. When thinking of a desired name it’s better to think outside the box. Many popular brand names today are coined out of abstract ideas. Creativity helps a lot. It will help you get that desired name.

Be Unique
No matter what business or profession you are in, it pays to be unique and differentiate yourself by the name you choose for your business. You don’t have to follow the crowd.

Combine More Words

Using more words in your name can help you get an approval, especially if you are using general words. For instance if you want a word like "Furniture" to appear in your brand name, you have to include other words. Example; Excel Concord Furniture Sales Limited will have a better chance of being approved than Excel Furniture Limited.

Choose Something That Is Significant To You
Coining words from ideas that are significant to you might prove unbeatable. From experience I’ve seen clients combine names of their children, their name and their spouse's, their birth dates etc. A client combined her children's name Mirabel and Collins to form MiraColls Ventures, Ukeme and Telma was used to form Ukitel Services. Such names are unbeatable.

Avoid Using General Words
As mentioned earlier, people think alike in many ways and it’s easy to fall for a name just because it’s a generally used word. Words like God’s Gift, Immaculate, Aroma, Food, Cuisine, Standard, Diamond, Gold, etc are general words and if not properly combined will lead to a disapproval.

Try To Use Indigenous Terms
There is a popular restaurant where I eat, and the registered name of the place fascinates me. Its locally branded and besides being unique, it draws attention. The name of the outfit is Ikooko Mi Limited (Ikooko Mi is a Yoruba Word for my cooking pot). Indigenous words and words in your local dialect if well combined will always come out well.

Use Foreign Language
Coining your name in a Foreign Language may be a sure banker when it comes to uniqueness. For instance a French name like "Rendezvous Limited" is likely to be available. Besides being a catchy name, "Rendezvous Limited" might get you more clients from Lagos Island than a name that that is less catchy.

Always Include Limited, PLC In Company Registration
Another reason why CAC deny names is when the name search inquiry omits the appropriate adjective or the acronym after the name. For Business names (sole Proprietors or Partnerships) It's always advisable but not mandatory to add words like “ventures” “Enterprise” etc after the desired name. Example is: "Jekyl Ventures," or @Jekyl Enterprise"

However it is mandatory when conducting a name search for company registration to add the word “Limited”, “LTD” or “PLC” after your desired name. If that is not done, the search would be invalid.

Avoid Certain Words
Many people make the mistake of trying to register a federal agency instead of a private or public company, said Said, Amaka Anierobi, a Lagos based Lawyer. They do so by adding words like "Federal", "National', "Regional", "State", "Government", "Municipal" or "Chartered", "Co-operative" or the words "Building Society", "Group" or "Holding. These words are prohibited under section 30 of the Companies And Allied Matters Act, (the law regulating companies.)

Use Names That Relate With Your Business
While choosing a name, be sure to avoid using verbs that does not address the core nature of your business. For instance if your business is for the supply of building and construction material, the core verb in your business is contractors not construction. So try using a name like “RBN Building Materials Contractors Limited” or “RBN Medical Equipment Supplies Limited”

Use Acronyms
Acronyms have a five out of every ten chance of working out. Start with a nice acronym and spell it out as your company name. Use Acronyms like EWP perhaps for Elegant Wedding Planners Limited, etc.

Avoid Publicizing Your Name Before Registration
If you are not going to get registered soon, then you should avoid publicizing your name. The truth is there may be someone out there who will either intentionally or unintentionally steal your name.  In the movie titled Focus, starring Will Smith, we were told how the subconscious mind registers an image it sees over time and accepts it as its own.

Do Not Let Your Name Search Expire Before Registration
Many people, even lawyers have encountered the problem in the past. Little is known if this problem still persists. But Lawyers often advise their clients, if you know you are not ready for registration, don’t bother reserving the name, because chances are it might get stuck in CAC’s system after expiration and become unusable. A friend who tried to register her company could not proceed with the name because the name got stuck and could not be re-reserved neither could it be cleared from the system.

Ask Google
Usually google does not have a list of all the registered businesses in Nigeria, but if you search google, you might find that a company using a name similar to yours may already exist. A website with the name may even be listed on the search result.
Do Not Register A Business Name IfYou Intend Converting To A Company

Another mistake people make is that they register a business name and dream of converting it into a company. However in reality, it’s not possible. A business name cannot be converted to a company. Only a company is convertible. A Private company can be converted to a public company, likewise a company limited can be converted to an unlimited company and vice versa.

Ed’s Note: This article was originally posted by RBN Bloggers here